Document Management Online – the pros and cons!
9th September 2012

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Have you found the perfect location/setting for your office yet?

Years ago your office had to include a room or building (ideally in a central location) which housed not only your employees, but all those paper documents you stacked up year after year after year!

Slowly, you accepted the idea of storing all these documents on your office pc –backed up on a server which could be accessed solely from the building where all employees were stationed.

But now you can carry your office in your pocket or bag – it consists of your laptop, tablet or phone, with employees working from wherever they may be!

Online Document Management Systems have changed the way we work and have facilitated flexible working. Today you can upload, organize, share and access your documents from anywhere at any time of day – the only thing you need - any pc/laptop/phone/ tablet + an internet connection!

The fact that you can ‘do business’ from anywhere helps businesses improve efficiency – with instant communication between your employees, suppliers and clients. With the fast paced work ethic we have become accustomed to and the pressures of today’s business climate, we simply cannot wait till the next morning to send a quote to a client!

Besides facilitating business, there is also a financial case to be considered – the costs.

With an online document management system you avoid having to purchase a server or incur the maintenance costs of owning one. Nor do you need to spend money on the on-going support the server inevitably needs. Typically with most online systems, updates and new features come free!

Practicality – ticked! Costs – Ticked! But the next dilemma would be – security!

At first thought your traditional server may seemingly be a safer place to home your documents; however risks of physical damage like a fire, or technical issues are constant concerns. With an online document management system – provided it is protected with SSL (encryption) together with a highly secure authorization and authentication system, the risk of your documents being tampered with or lost is next to nothing! It is important to ensure that the online system provides a private network backup and firewalls that are monitored around the clock!

While the right online document management solution can streamline your document management processes, the wrong one can create more problems than it solves. So, how do you go about choosing the right online document management system?

First of all, determine what you need to do with your online document management system. Here are some of the processes you may need:

  • Store organise, access and modify your documents no matter where you are
  • Share documents online and collaborate on them with colleagues, customers and partners
  • Enable virtual offices and distributed workforces
  • Control access to documents, folders or subfolders
  • Control document versions
  • Provide audit trails
  • Google-like text-based document search
  • Industry certifications or security requirements
What are features that you must have? What are some features that would be nice to have? Your must-have feature list should only include the bare minimum. These are the things you absolutely cannot go without. The nice-to-have list includes the features you would be willing to pay a bit more for, depending on cost-benefit ratio.

As you choose document management software for your business, consider the budget and needs of your company. Depending on the size of your business and the amount of paperwork that comes across the desks of your employees, different solutions are better suited to meet your needs.

Large corporations tend to have highly specific needs and larger budgets to work with. If your business is ready to dedicate in-house servers and staff, enterprise systems that embrace specificity might be the best option.

Small businesses and mid-sized business might find that modern, secure web based solutions are the best fit because they require no in-house staff and effort, and offer flexibility with a large range of features.

 
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